Taylor with the Pittsburgh Steelers
|Date of birth:||May 5, 1980|
|Place of birth:||Gretna, Louisiana|
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||195 lb (88 kg)|
|High school:||New Orleans (LA) Abramson|
|NFL draft:||2003 / Round: 4 / Pick: 125|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Ivan "Ike" Taylor (born May 5, 1980) is a retired American football cornerback in the National Football league (NFL). He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft, and spent his entire 12-year career in Pittsburgh. He played college football at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Ike was born in Gretna, Louisiana, which is located just across the Mississippi river from New Orleans. As a child, he moved with his mother, Cora, to Raleigh, North Carolina, but he returned to Louisiana as a seventh-grader to live with his uncle and aunt, Herman and Judy Francois, in Harvey, Louisiana. He attended Marion Abramson Senior High School in New Orleans where he played football and basketball. In high school he played running back, defensive end, cornerback and placekicker.
Taylor attended college at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he majored in psychology, but he was academically ineligible to play football his first two years. He joined the football team as a walk on in 2001, earning a scholarship prior to the season. In his first season he played tailback and special teams and returned kicks.
Prior to his senior season, Taylor asked to be moved to cornerback. He started the season at the right cornerback spot and recorded 46 tackles, eight passes defensed and two forced fumbles. In four games, he did not allow an opponent to catch a ball. Among his college teammates was Charles Tillman who was drafted by the Chicago Bears.
Despite his inexperience and lack of consistent play in college, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Taylor in the fourth round (125th overall) in the 2003 NFL Draft. The selection was made based primarily on Taylor's rare combination of size and speed — leading up to the draft, he was timed allegedly as fast as 4.25 seconds in the 40-yard dash. However, most NFL coaches and general managers still failed to see his potential.
In his first two years in the league, Taylor was used primarily on special teams, though he saw spot duty at defensive back. In his third season (2005) Taylor moved into the starting lineup at left cornerback. He started 15 regular season games and all four of the team's playoff games, including Super Bowl XL. During the 2005 NFL playoffs he had a key interception in the second quarter of the 2005 AFC Championship. The turnover led to a touchdown which opened a 24–3 lead en route to a 34–17 win over the Denver Broncos. In the Super Bowl, Taylor recorded a team high seven tackles and also had two passes defensed and a crucial interception at the Steelers five-yard line which helped the Steelers to secure a 21–10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
Taylor was rewarded for his performance prior to the 2006 season with a contract extension valued at $22.5 million over four years (with $6.4 million guaranteed). The contract made Taylor the highest paid cornerback in franchise history and would tie him to the Steelers through 2010.
Taylor's play regressed in 2006 and he was stripped of his starting role after game 10; he was not re-inserted into the starting lineup until the final game of the season, and then only due to an injury to Deshea Townsend. He re-committed himself in the off-season and regained his spot at left cornerback for 2007 under the new regime of head coach Mike Tomlin, who replaced Bill Cowher. In a first round loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2007 playoffs, Taylor recorded his third consecutive post-season game with an interception, which set a team record.
Taylor won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Week award for his performance against the Seahawks in the fifth week of 2007. In the game he had six solo tackles, three passes defensed and a goal-line interception to halt a Seahawks drive at the end of the first half. He started all 16 regular season games that season. The following year, he would help defeat the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII to earn his second Super Bowl ring.
In the final week of the 2009 season, Taylor made a helmet-to-helmet tackle on Miami Dolphins quarterback Pat White which rendered White temporarily unable to move. White had to be carted off the field, but he did not appear to sustain any long-term damage from the hit.
The primary knock against Taylor's skill-set was that he did not catch enough interceptions — he never recorded more than three in a season. He worked with the team's receivers to address this deficiency since at least the team's 2008 training camp. However, he never seemed to show much improvement, recording just 7 interceptions after that time.
Prior to the 2011 season, Taylor signed a 4-year deal worth $28 million. Prior to the 2014 season, Taylor restructured the final year of his contract, taking a massive pay-cut to stay with the team for one more season.
On September 21, 2014, Taylor broke his right forearm against the Carolina Panthers. Taylor missed 11 of the Steelers' 16 games due to injuries.
On April 14, 2015, Taylor announced his retirement.
Taylor makes his off-season home in his native New Orleans. He trains with Tom Shaw in his Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness (SPARQ) Training Program, primarily at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
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- Brodess, Doug (April 16, 2011). "The Top 25 Fastest Players in NFL History". bleacherreport.com.
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- Collier, Gene (August 2, 2007). "Taylor is on the upside of his up-and-down career at corner". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Dulac, Gerry (November 7, 2008). "This Taylor plays close to the vest". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Harris, John (May 5, 2008). "Steelers Taylor around the corner". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Neal, David J. (January 4, 2010). "Hit on Miami Dolphins' Pat White rattles both teams". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Pasquerelli, Len (April 23, 2009). "Restructuring helps Steelers' cap room". ESPN.com. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Brown, Scott (August 5, 2008). "Taylor turns to receiver for tips". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- "Ike Taylor stats". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Orr, Connor (April 14, 2015). "Ike Taylor retires after 12 seasons with Steelers". NFL.com. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- Dulac, Gerry (September 11, 2009). "Titans' Johnson put an all-world move on Taylor in '08 matchup in Tennessee". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Wehrle, Phil (June 26, 2009). "Pittsburgh Steelers' Ike Taylor returns to where the hard work started". The Times-Picayune. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
- "FaceMeIke YouthFootballCamp". Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011.